Research Technician (Low GPA) Seeking Advice For PhD Programs
I am in the process of applying for admission into Fall 2013 PhD programs. I graduated from Boston University with a dual BS in biomedical engineering & mechanical engineering; my cumulative undergraduate GPA is not great (overall: 3.17, engineering: 3.08, the GPA factors in transfer coursework done at a state school prior to transferring to BU). I am studying for the GRE and I am confident that I can do well on the quantitative section.
I am also entering my 3rd year as a research technician for a leading orthopedic lab, doing full-time biomaterials research on polymers. I am in the process of writing (and hopefully submitting soon) two 1st authored papers. I am getting my recommendations from a BU professor with whom I've done well in an introductory course, as well as being the customer for my senior design course in ME; my PI/supervisor who has mentored me the past two years; and the co-director of the laboratory (among the top in his field).
I would like advice as to whether or not I should even look at any (at all) top 10 schools for PhD programs in biomedical engineering. I recently networked with a professor and her graduate students (last February), who are from UC Berkeley, at a research conference and I think we clicked pretty well since we do work on the same material and therefore have a lot of overlap in research interests.
I feel that my low GPA (due to lack of maturity in college) is holding me back. Do I have absolutely no chance of receiving an offer an admissions from any top program (e.g. Berkeley)? Would I be given serious consideration at all, or would it rather be a waste of application fee? Also, I wonder if professors who are willing to accept me for their lab actually interact with the admissions committee to push for offering acceptance. Any encouragement, school suggestions, or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.